“Don’t read the comments,” goes the ancient Internet saying. In Milwaukee, however, it might be time to update those words to “Maybe it’s finally okay to read the comments because they’re from paid subscribers only and the rest of you anonymous jackals can go fuck yourselves.” Yes, beginning February 15, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s venerable website, JSOnline, will be limiting its commenting forums to paid subscribers only. No longer will anonymous, non-paying readers be able to make racist, insensitive, or just plain awful comments on JSOnline; now, only readers willing to shell out $4.29 a month will be able to make racist, insensitive, or just plain awful comments on JSOnline.
In a hilariously frustrated, combative, and comments-disabled blog post published over the weekend, editor George Stanley flat out admits that the JSOnline forums have long been havens for racist, Milwaukee-hating assholes, and that beginning next week, “we will finally have the technology available to restrict online commenting to paid subscribers.” Whether that cutting-edge technology was derived from a team of pushed-to-their-limits NASA scientists or a JS intern finally installing the right WordPress plugin is left unexplained.
I expect some of our critics to proclaim that we are somehow violating their First Amendment rights against government censorship by insisting they follow the rules they agreed to before commenting. We are merely exercising our rights to limit our forums to known customers who wish to contribute to civil discussions.
Anyone blocked from writing on JSOnline is still free to take their opinions elsewhere—from digital platforms with looser rules to their corner tavern. At least there, they might be answered with a well-deserved punch in the nose.
Okay then. Anyway, the new system will still allow commenters to use anonymous screen names, though their true identities will be tied to either a print or digital JS subscription. What’s more, the paper’s Facebook page remains open to any drooling dipshit who doesn’t care about using his or her real name, as evidenced by these stellar examples of thoughtful and civil discussion:
Your paper sucks. When you finally realize that and put some effort towards making it a respectable and desirable news source then maybe people will actually start buying print copies and subscribing online. You should have learned a lesson when you had to start giving free copies at grocery stores….
Then you won’t mind me removing/blocking from my feed. Interestingly enough you don’t have to pay for your opinion to be shoved down the general populations throat!
What a surprise. No one reads the useless paper anyways. The paper is best saved for Emergency toilet paper.
Kiss your remaining viewership goodbye. Your so far left and without credibility anymore I will by glad to no longer see your bias…see ya.
I ended my subscription to your WTMJ hate radio affiliated rag when you ENDORSED SCOTT WALKER. Screw you MJS.
Shepard Express 2, just less interesting. lol
Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co. bought Journal Communications Inc. last year and spun its newspapers into the Journal Media Group; that group was subsequently sold to USA Today publisher Gannett Co. No word yet on whether JSOnline’s new commenting policy will carry over when the site eventually looks like this.